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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.


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Protesting the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) 'sweetheart deal' with the City of Philadelphia!

GREATER PHILADELPHIA STORY-March/April 2004

Dear Mayor Street,

I/we commend the City of Philadelphia for enacting a comprehensive Fair Practices ordinance (Philadelphia Charter and Code of Ordinances, Title 9, Chapter 9-1105, 668-669) prohibiting the use of public accommodations to any person or organization who would deny access '...because of his race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, physical handicap or marital status, either directly or indirectly.'

I/we call upon the City of Philadelphia to apply the terms of the said ordinance to the use of all its public properties and resources without bias or favor to any group or individual. I/we specifically urge the City to hold the Cradle of Liberty Council of the Boy Scouts of America (CoLBSA), headquartered in City-owned real estate known as the Beaux Arts Building (located at North Twenty-second and Winter Streets) rent and tax free since 1928, to the same standards required of any other beneficiary of public funding or real-estate access.

CoLBSA claims to serve 'all boys' in the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area, yet has practiced active discrimination against gay and Atheist scouts. We recognize that CoLBSA has attempted to take steps to ensure its future compliance with City law. We support all efforts by CoLBSA to do away with its practice of discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender individuals, Atheists, and other non-theists so that this local Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) can truly serve all law-abiding, tax-paying families in the metropolitan area.

Unfortunately, CoLBSA's 2003 attempt at enacting a non-discrimination policy was met with hostility from the national office of BSA and CoLBSA quickly withdrew the policy. BSA is a 'down-the-line' private organization which does not permit individual Councils to make policy independent of the national office.

I/we recommend that the City require CoLBSA to implement a genuine, testable non-discrimination policy as soon as possible. A 'Don't ask ' Don't tell' policy is not sufficient. The only other option available is to charge CoLBSA full fair-market-value rent for the Beaux Arts Building.

I/we suggest that there are many other non-discriminatory youth development organizations located in the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. They struggle financially while providing great benefit to City and area children and families. Any legitimate non-discriminatory youth organization would be a more appropriate recipient of such aid than CoLBSA.

Providing those resources instead to a private organization that practices and teaches groundless prejudice is a disservice to the community and a grievous misuse of taxpayer dollars. CoLBSA needs to stop discriminating, pay rent to the City, or find other headquarters.

Finally, I/we submit that BSA, held by the U. S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2000 in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale), to be a 'private organization' entitled to discriminate based on religious belief or sexual orientation, forfeited its eligibility for public funding.

It is the opinion of Scouting for All and the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia that from the date of June 28, 2000 forward, the City of Philadelphia is entitled and obligated to hold CoLBSA liable for full fair-market-value rent for the use of the Beaux Arts Building. Reimbursement of rent should be pursued promptly by the City of Philadelphia.

Respectfully,

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